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A Powerful Promis (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
May 24, 2022 6:00 am

A Powerful Promis (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 24, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Because I'm a believer, I'm automatically going to know how to preach the gospel to people.

That's not true. Otherwise, who needs the Holy Spirit? Why would we need power to preach if we could? These men had the Spirit. They were filled with the Spirit.

They just weren't overflowing with it. Not yet. I hope that we don't lose sight of the importance of Christian courage to make us bold as a lion to the things that we don't necessarily want to do. about cross-reference radio. Specifically, how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of Acts chapter 1 as he begins a new message called, A Powerful Promise. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven. The challenge for me is to try not to take away from any of the excitement that is going on in this historical account of what happened to the Christians after Christ was crucified, risen, and ascended into heaven. Now, starting in verse 4, there's really not much of a connection to verse 3, a direct connection as far as sequence goes.

They're independent of each other. But we look now at verse 4, and being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he said, You have heard from me. Well, of course, he made these periodic appearances to the disciples after the resurrection.

About 11 are recorded in the Gospels and in Acts. And this being assembled together with them, there they are. One of these periodic appearances, they are doing what the church has done ever since, what the church is supposed to do, to assemble together with Christ. Thomas is no longer the missing man. At one point, that disciple was not present. He did not assemble with them. But he learned his lesson, and he is present and accounted for at this point.

And, of course, rich with lessons for all of us, to make sure I'm not the missing man when Christ shows up. Well, we know that Jesus never leaves us nor forsakes us. But are we careful to not forsake the assembly?

This is so important. It's so disappointing how clear the Bible is, the New Testament is, about the New Testament assembly, and yet how many Christians are reluctant to grab hold of the value and the importance. Listen, the North Korean Christians, they would love to be able to assemble and freely worship their God, but they cannot. And so for us, we have to say, well, okay, I accept this.

What am I going to do with it? Because I know Satan's coming after it. Anything that is productive for the kingdom is a target of hell. It is no question. It is not if he's going to attack. It is when. And it won't be one attack.

It will be constant. And we should be ready. The gates of hell shall not prevail. You either believe that and trust God and follow, or you miss out. And so this book of Acts, so dear, it should be so dear to all of us, because the Holy Spirit is saying, look, I want to show you what the first Christians did. And in this section, we have a powerful promise that you shall receive power to preach me.

Well, that's for individuals, and that is for the church also. And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem. It tells us here in verse four.

That is a command. Don't leave Jerusalem. Now, we're not sure where he was when he said this. He could have been in Galilee, because he did tell them. He would see them in Galilee. He could have been on the slopes of Bethany, where he was ascended from. But this was something that Luke records even twice, and it is a clear command.

This is something not to lose sight of, like everything else here. He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem. That was their order. Now, we're not under this restriction ourselves at this point, but we are watching them to see what they are going to do with what he tells them. And this comes into the story because he's going to say, wait for the Holy Spirit. And who would you think of all the apostles will say, okay, I'll wait, but while I wait, I'll take some initiative, and it will be misdirected. That will be Peter.

We'll get to that later, but those things are for us. Well, he has to make sure they're going to be in Jerusalem for the Pentecost, and there is going to be droves, multitudes of Jewish worshipers in Jerusalem, 50 days from the time of the crucifixion. They needed time, these disciples, to absorb what had taken place over the last three years and over the last few days since his crucifixion, in this 40-day period that Jesus would show up randomly and then go away and then show up again. We were told that in verse 3, that over 40 days he would show himself and then, again, not be visible to them. Peter would get the idea that he took this time to study up on scripture, and when we see him speaking in Acts chapter 2, we're impressed with his knowledge of scripture, the Old Testament, and his application to the things that are taking place after the ascension of Christ.

And again, lessons abound. It's like the famine with Joseph. You know, there was a severe famine, but Joseph was ready. God prepared him. And of course, they had the seven years of plentiful, and he stored up the grain, and so when the famine came and then grew severe, Joseph was ready. And that is also a picture of the Christian life. We are supposed to store up on God's word. Amos the prophet said, there's a famine coming, but it won't be of food, it's going to be of God's word, because you really don't care what I have to say. I love these lessons from scripture. I love that over the years they've not died down for me. I love that the same Jesus Christ that saved me, that took hold of me as a sinner, still loves me, still invests in me, still is patient with me, still treats me with respect.

Believe it or not, God of the universe treating me with respect, even when I'm clumsy and foolish and can't seem to get it to where it needs to be. Well, his command to them to stay at Jerusalem, of course they're eager to do whatever he tells them to do. They're going to learn, first off, they don't know what they're missing yet. I mean, they don't know about the Holy Spirit, they've heard about it, but they really don't understand still what's going on. The church evolved in that sense. The church evolved into what we have today. Paul leading the charge, getting rid of so many things that were a hindrance to the church, that were a hindrance to converts from the Gentile world, and the Holy Spirit leading every step of the way. So, they're going to learn that without the Holy Spirit, they have tongues to speak the word of God, just no fire.

So, when we get to chapter 2, and they all spoke with tongues, and the image of the tongues of fire over them, but the fire, without that fire, there they were praising God, without that Holy Spirit, it would have been ineffective. And they're going to learn these lessons, and hopefully we'll learn them with, alongside of these first Christians. He says, but to wait, that's again an imperative from Christ. Waiting for God requires trust. To do it right, sometimes God puts us in a situation where I have a choice, but other times we do have, we can mess things up. We can refuse to wait.

We can meddle. We can fidget with things that we're supposed to have our hands off of, because we're supposed to be waiting for Him. Waiting for God not only requires trust sometimes, but endurance, the long haul, and sometimes courage. I find that a helpful thing to be mindful of, that patience requires courage. I have to have some personal bravery that is invested in waiting for Christ. He said wait, because the urge is going to be not to wait.

There's no need for the command. Courage enhances all the attributes, all the virtues that belong to Christianity. Patience, perseverance, love. How much greater is love when you are courageous for Christ? Loyalty. Loyalty in labor, learning, living the Christian life.

Courage enhances these virtues, and I don't know about you, but I do know about me, there have been times I've lost sight of that. It takes some heart to do what Jesus says to do, and the temptation is, because I'm a believer, that somehow I'm going to automatically do the things that I'm supposed to do. Because I'm a believer, I'm automatically going to know how to preach the gospel to people.

That's not true. Otherwise, who needs the Holy Spirit? Why would we need power to preach if we could? These men had the Spirit, they were filled with the Spirit, they just weren't overflowing with it, not yet. I hope that we don't lose sight of the importance of Christian courage to make us bold as a lion to do the things that we don't necessarily want to do. And there is that fine line between initiative and impatience, as we will see Peter will confuse the two.

Well, we've got to do something, and the Bible says, and he messed it up. Anyway, waiting for God also needs strength rather than weakness. You have to be strong to wait in addition to being courageous and trusting God, as I mentioned, to not interfere, strength to hold strength in check, to restrain oneself from some blundering activity.

This is really good on paper. It's really good in hearing it preached. But when your time comes, what are you going to do? I have tried to draw from scriptural lessons for everything. I have tried to find its parallel in scripture somewhere that I could know how I'm supposed to behave. And it is much easier sometimes to just busy ourselves for God than to wait for God. But as I mentioned, as we are waiting, we can be getting ready. It doesn't mean do nothing.

It just means don't do what you're not supposed to, don't do what you're supposed to keep from doing. Luke's Gospel 24, there, Jesus, it says, he opened their understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures. That's what was happening while they were waiting. That's why we're going to see Peter when the Spirit does come upon Peter. We're going to see this just outpouring of scripture. This is what the prophet Joel said.

And there we have an example of working while waiting. I mean, Peter, as many blunders as he made, he wasn't all wrong at all. He's a great dynamic figure, and we're so grateful for him.

I've said this before. You go to the Gospels and you say, thank you, God, for the dumb questions of Peter. Because we wouldn't learn. There's so much we learn from his questions and how the Lord handled him.

So there's no slight on the man. We have to see ourselves in these things. Anyway, are we getting how beneficial these lessons are? I'm not trying to sell them.

I'm excited about them, but I'm not trying to sell them. And I think the born-again believer is excited about them, too. Or, when we have lessons on these first Christians from the book of Acts, these powerful promises, do we fail to see how beneficial they are because we're waiting to have our ears tickled?

Because instead, we want to hear the pastor tell me some problem in my life is going to be all right, and God loves me, and God has a plan for me. And there's some truth in some of that sometimes, but not always. For instance, God has a plan for you, and you can mess it up. And so these things keep me courageous.

They keep me on my toes. I don't want to get caught flat-footed. I want to be ready because I have been in the Word, because he has opened my understanding to comprehend the Scriptures.

How profound. Well, he has already charged them to go into the world to preach, but they weren't ready just yet to do this, and so there's a delay. He's going to equip them with the Holy Spirit, and hopefully, when you leave here today, if you didn't have it before you got here, you'll be leaving here saying, I have to wait for the Holy Spirit. I can't just say whatever I want to say, preach however I want to preach. I must be led by the Spirit.

Who would object to that? What Christian would say, I really don't need the Holy Spirit. I'm fine. I read the Gospel of John last night.

I'm ready to go. Of course not. Well, the promise of the Father had to be complete silence when he says these things, right? Wait for the promise from the Father. Acts chapter 2 verse 16, here we have Peter, but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, and then here's Joel chapter 2, 28, and it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. That means they shall speak God's Word.

There's other things belonging to that, but that's the primary application of prophecy in the book of Acts, is just speaking forth the truth of God, not necessarily predictive prophecy. He continues in Joel, your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions, and also on my men servants and maid servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days. My point of reading Joel is to say that Peter is going to apply this. When the Spirit is given to the church on Pentecost, Peter is going to quote Joel and say this is the promise.

This is what the Father spoke about. This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel, and of course Joel got it from God. Now Jesus also in John's gospel had said you will receive the promise.

I will pray to my Father and he will give you the Spirit. He says here in verse 4, which you have heard from me. Again the second time Luke brings this up. He does it once in his gospel and once here. No, less than seven times do we hear about the promise that God would send the Holy Spirit.

We will take one, John chapter 7. But this he spoke concerning the Spirit whom those believing in him would receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified. And John will later record when Jesus breathes on them, we may get to that later if we have time, and says receive you the Holy Spirit.

But it is not the same thing as that day of Pentecost in verse 5. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Well Jesus refers back to John the baptizer, John the Baptist, contrasting the two different types of baptism. John's baptism, which was a water baptism, was a confession of sin and an awakening of the conscience before God. John's message was repent, be baptized, and do those works fitting of righteousness. It was an Old Testament call to cleansing the life in devotion to God and in many cases redevotion to God. John called the Jewish people to symbolize this devotion through being immersed in water.

An outward demonstration of an inward pledge. But John's baptism is not the Christian baptism I should add. It was an Old Testament event leading to it, they are connected. John the Baptist knew Jesus did not need the cleansing, did not need to be baptized. Matthew chapter 3, John tried to prevent him saying I need to be baptized by you and you are coming to me?

Of course Christ was being numbered with the transgressors, that's one phase of it. John's baptism was one of recommitment, ours is rebirth. When we are baptized we are saying I am born again. The old me has died in Christ and the new me is risen in Christ.

I am a new creation, all things are washed away. This is the Holy Spirit's baptism, it is one of salvation, 1 Corinthians 12 verse 13, for by one spirit we are all baptized into one body, that is when we become believers. Now there is controversy here, many believe that well there is just one baptism, the Holy Spirit and the baptism of Jesus with the Holy Spirit being the same thing. And then there are others that say no there is a three-fold experience of this baptism that we have in Christ, so this experience with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's baptism as I mentioned one of salvation quoting 1 Corinthians 12 verse 13. But here Jesus' baptism that he is going to baptize his apostles with on Pentecost, empowers them to preach Matthew's gospel chapter 3 verse 11. John speaking, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. See these distinctions, they are necessary for us. We read about John and we say okay but I am a Christian and there has been another baptism that I am told I am going to experience as a Christian and John himself is the one that started it off. So there is a difference between being filled with the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit.

And this is not something to fight and argue about, you may see different approaches to it and that's okay. But this is my view, it's the view of my pastor Chuck Smith and it's the view of others too. The moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, but that's not enough. As I mentioned, these men were saved, but that wasn't enough. That's why they had to tarry in Jerusalem to wait for the Spirit. Have you ever met a Christian that believes in the Lord, believes in the Bible, is saved, but just has no power? Doesn't share Christ with anybody, isn't excited about sharing Christ with anybody?

It's sort of just without the fire. Saved and going to heaven, I don't dispute that at all, but there's more available according to these lessons. And again, the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. And the moment that we receive him, the Holy Spirit begins to indwell us.

1 Corinthians 12, 3, no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. So let me just review this three-fold experience with the Holy Spirit as taught in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. The Holy Spirit, incidentally, at work in the life of a person even before they give their life to Christ. He's already at work in the person that's going to become a believer and the ones that oftentimes, the ones that hear the Gospel and reject it, well, the Holy Spirit was trying to draw them in.

He was beside the apostles endearing them to Jesus. John's Gospel chapter 14, the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him. For he dwells, now the Greek word here is para alongside, for he dwells para with you and will be in you. Two different experiences of the Holy Spirit. The first one is he is beside you, para, drawing you to Christ. The second one is you become a believer, he is now in you. The Greek word is in our English, en, en, he is in you. Not in, same meaning, a little confusing.

But there's still another one. He was in them, enabling them to know the Scriptures. We covered that, John's Gospel chapter 20, verse 22. This is before the church was born on Pentecost, when the promise was given. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit.

Okay, they had the Holy Spirit, they were saved. This is New Testament theology, things are expanding and evolving. The other phases of his promises are now being fulfilled. But then, when he fills them, he comes upon them. Another Greek word, epi, for upon, empowering us to witness.

That's what he's promising here. But you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. That para, next to, en, inside, and then epi, upon. When you just this outflowing of the Holy Spirit, where it's not only in you, not only about your salvation, but now the truth flows from you. You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit, a distinct event that has not happened yet.

And chronologically, as we're looking at this in Acts, John said of Jesus in chapter 1 of John's Gospel, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit That's We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at, or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-15 01:54:59 / 2023-04-15 02:04:31 / 10

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